Are Video Games Leaving You in Pain? Here’s Why & How to Avoid It.

From “gamer’s thumb” to arm and wrist pain to aches in your lower back and neck, pain from video games is no joke. Anytime you sit for long periods of time or use the same muscles over and over again, you put yourself at risk for pain. Video games require both, which could lead to serious injury or disability over time. Not what you want to hear when you just want to have fun, so we’re giving you some tips to play video games in a safer, healthier way.

How do you keep gaming and limit your pain?

You may have already found relief by taking Goody’s® Back & Body Pain powder when you’re in pain. While its ingredients will temporarily relieve the pain, it is not a preventive answer. For long-term solutions, you need to address the two basic causes of video gaming pain: poor posture and repetitive movement.

Pain from Poor Posture and Sitting

Even when you sit with the best posture, sitting too long is not good for you. Your body is meant to move. It’s easy to forget this when absorbed in an exciting game, but the pain you feel after is a nagging reminder to change some habits. Minor lower back and neck pain could eventually turn into major disk problems with pain, numbness and tingling. You don’t have to stop gaming to prevent this, just take some time in preparation to set yourself up for success.

Some quick tips to prevent back and neck pain during gaming:

  • Add core strengthening exercises, like planks, bridges and superman stretches, to your daily or weekly routine.
  • Warm up and do some dynamic stretching or yoga before gaming for long periods.
  • Choose a chair that supports you and reinforces good posture.
  • Switch positions while gaming, at least once an hour, from sitting with good posture to standing.

Pain from Repetitive Hand Movements

Most gaming requires using handheld controllers with super-quick finger motions to run, shoot, kick, jump and more. You have tendons, muscles and nerves that must constantly act and react to make your fingers and hands move so rapidly. This constant movement could lead to a repetitive stress injury that could end your gaming hobby or career for good, so it’s best to take preventive measures:

  • Do hand stretches before and after gaming.
  • Strengthen your hand and forearm muscles with putty or foam stress balls.
  • Use ergonomic hand controllers or set up your computer to be ergonomically friendly. (Ergonomic means it’s designed to fit the natural shape and movement of your body.)
  • Take breaks to shake out and stretch hands, wrists and finger muscles, take advantage of the time it takes game updates to load.
  • Use software or apps that alert you to switch activities.

If you’re already in pain, especially if the pain doesn’t go away and you experience numbness or tingling, see a doctor. The doctor can recommend treatment as well as exercises that can help ease the pain and/or prevent it from happening. For temporary relief of minor aches and pains, try Goody’s® Back & Body Pain.